Jesse Marsch, Chris Armas - New York Red Bulls - side by side

Chris Armas and Jesse Marsch were longtime teammates at Chicago Fire FC before joining forces again in the coaching ranks, helping guide the New York Red Bulls to a pair of Supporters’ Shields and within a game of reaching MLS Cup.

There might not be anyone more qualified to discuss Armas’ attributes as the newly-hired Toronto FC head coach.

Marsch did so with TSN’s Kristian Jack, calling the appointment a “really smart move“ by the Reds.

“He’s equipped with a lot of things, he’s not raw, he’s not young, he’s not green, he’s ready,” Marsch said of Armas. “He went through some tough times in New York, but I think he’ll have learned a lot from that and be ready to apply a lot of those successes and failures to what he does now in Toronto.”

Armas took over the Red Bulls when Marsch left to become an assistant at RB Leipzig midway through the 2018 season. He parted ways with the club in early September after a 29W-21L-11T record in league play.

“Obviously he has to win championships there and that’s the pressure of being at a place like Toronto, but the resources, the tools, the commitment from the organization is at a different level than anywhere other than here in Austria and Leipzig that I’ve been,” Marsch said. “In New York we had a lot of success, but we didn’t have all the resources that Toronto has and the commitment.”

The Red Bull Salzburg coach said he spoke with TFC president Bill Manning about Armas ahead of his announced hire as the cub’s 10th head coach on Wednesday. Marsch said Armas was hugely instrumental in the Red Bulls' success when they worked together.

“He was my right hand man, he was a big part of everything we did there, from tactics to training preparation to individual relationships with guys,” Marsch said. “I think we both grew a lot in our time with the New York Red Bulls in our expertise and our idea in football.

“He’ll come with an idea, with details, a mentality, an understanding of what’s necessary to compete and succeed in the league.”

Marsch said Armas will have a leg up on establishing relationships within his new club because of his connection with Michael Bradley.

It goes back to 1998 when the Toronto FC captain was a young aspiring professional watching Armas patrol the Chicago Fire FC midfield with Marsch under Bob Bradley.

Michael Bradley described that relationship as “incredible” and credited the new Toronto FC with a lot of his success.

“I’m not the player, the leader or the competitor I am today without Chris,” Bradley said in an interview with Eric Giacometti on the club’s official site. “Even as a young aspiring professional, the way he was able to push me, challenge me, to put his arm around me when I needed it, that part was incredible and he wasn’t even the coach at that time.”

Bradley is sure Armas will be able to quickly build relationships with the rest of the players on the club, which he thinks will be a springboard to success.

“I think his personality, his leadership, the way that he can engage everyone around him, the standards that he’ll have for the team, for every single guy, I think it sets up in a really good way for us,” Bradley said, adding “I think he’ll command the respect of the entire group from the second he walks in the door. I think it’s a really exciting for the club.”